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International experiences help students gain new perspectives and develop a global mindset along with a whole new confidence in navigating new situations. From returning students and study-abroad alumni we hear the same word over and over again: “transformative.”

High-Impact Teaching Drives Student Success

High-impact educational practices have proven to be major factors in student success. In other ways, too, they align readily with values foundational to the St. Norbert College experience – helping develop globally minded citizens ready to have a positive impact on their communities large and small.

In 2008, the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) first identified these key teaching and learning practices – those that research has shown to be major factors in student success.

Our glossary of the AAC&U checklist clarifies some of the newer terminology in higher ed and may prove a useful conversation starter with your SNC student. How many of these have they expereinced to date on their SNC journey?  

  1. First-year seminars and experiences. These programs regularly bring together small groups of students with faculty or staff. The emphasis is on critical inquiry, writing and collaborative learning, among other things.

  2. Common intellectual experiences. The best example of this is a core curriculum, or group of courses required of all students.

  3. Learning communities. Here, students typically take two or more linked courses as a group. Working together, they explore a common topic through different disciplines.

  4. Writing-intensive courses. As the name implies, these classes emphasize writing: in various forms, for different audiences and in different disciplines.

  5. Collaborative assignments and projects. This shared learning helps students learn to work and solve problems with others, and learn to listen seriously to others.

  6. Undergraduate research. Often seen in the sciences, undergrad research is increasingly being conducted across all disciplines. Its benefits include teaching students questioning and empirical observation.

  7. Diversity/global learning. If your student wants to study abroad, it’s a good idea! Global learning programs assist students in exploring diverse cultures, whether by international travel or experiential community learning.

  8. ePortfolios. The newest practice added to the AAC&U list, these are electronic folders in which students collect their work over their college years. Maintaining such a collection helps them make connections between learning experiences, assess their growth and easily share items with others, including potential employers.

  9. Service learning, community-based learning. These classes involve field-based learning or service in the local community. Students analyze and try to help solve problems or perform service as a way to reinforce the importance of good citizenship, among other things.

  10. Internships. Students work at a business related to their career field for experience and mentoring.

  11. Capstone courses and projects. Students, typically seniors, create a project – a portfolio of work, a research paper or performance – that showcases their best work and what they’ve learned.

St. Norbert employs all of these key practices, says Bob Pyne (Community Engagement): “We’re doing a lot of these things in many different ways, and we’re trying to do all of them well.” 

St. Norbert also conducts its own research into what educational practices work best. The end goal is to help students learn their subjects thoroughly, and to be able to express what they’ve learned professionally, thus better preparing them for the workplace.

Students should view these 11 practices as valuable experiences to help them learn and become more marketable, says Pyne. “We’re dedicated to that end.”

March 12, 2019